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Chairman's Comment

Date: 01/01/1978
Author: John Croll
Position: Former Chairman
Contributor: Tony Williams

Well, spring-time thermals have been living up to their reputation recently, Ashley Doubtfire 10 miles, Ray Willis nearly 8½ miles, Norman Millhouse over 6 - great stuff Most spectacular (I'm glad to say I saw it happen) was the flight on Saturday 15th April when Paul Baker and the Fack twins decided that conditions were no good on top of the Blorenge. They therefore decided to fly down in nil wind, and go home. All three were literally at tree-top level when they caught the most tremendous amount of thermal lift, and worked it back to about 500 feet above take-off (a height gain of about 2,500 feet), flew around for nearlv an hour, two of them landing back on top again', It probably isn't fair to discriminate but I think Paul and his Moyes were looking best. Well done, all of you - don't forget we are looking for that record again - 50 miles seems to be a common dream at the moment and is I believe quite possible on the right day. (If you are there at the right time place etc., etc).

Hang-gliding has had some really good coverage in the media recently. There was a nice big photo on the front of the Guardian recently, of kites in the league, plus more pictures and a write-up on the competition and flying in general. We also got a picture and a mention in the Daily Express, but best of all was the feature on both powered and free-flight hang-gliding on Tomorrows World, featuring Brian Milton and Len Gabriel brief f lying shots of Ashley, and Bob Calvert too. Brian is going to attempt a non stop London to Paris flight in the near future., with Len"s twin engine job.I believe all Russian cargo ships in the channel are being given a red alert just before Brian takes off. Apologies Brian. In fact thanks to you as press officer for getting us such positive publicity we really wish you luck on that long journey.

The most obvious danger of powered flight seems to be catching ones feet in the prop, and this recently happened to a well known flier. Fortunately the injuries were not nearly as bad as could have been expected and he is not in hospital. A 'get well soon' card has been sent on behalf of us all.

Having read about it in books and magazines on sail-plane flying many of us have dreamed about wave--'lift, lenticulars (Blorenge in a Westerly) and all that. A recent article in the Australian Magazine Sky-Sailer definitely makes you think twice about it. The person concerned got, into wave rotor with disastrous but miraculously not fatal results. This phenomenon occurs underneath the waves and consists a cylinder of air rotating really fast - it has been known to bring down fixed wing gliders and jet planes. So stick to the thermals lads, they can be rough enough and have lots more good flying in the next few weeks

John Croll

Contributor's Notes:

Several big names of 1970s hang gliding mentioned here:

Ashley Doubtfire: league pilot, school proprietor, did many big flights. Died in the 1980s (not flying related).

Ray Willis: usually "top of the stack" Made and sold electronic varios

Norman Millhouse: well known Bristol butcher! U.K. h/g team member at Kossen World Championships

Paul Baker: involved in the High School of Hang Gliding run by the Fack twins John and Jerome. They imported Bennet gliders including the famous Phoenix series. John later worked for Pegasus. Paul was flying a Moyes Maxi. (The same Moyes we know today)

Brian Milton: founder of the League- author/journalist -famous for lots of flying related "wheezes" including first flight to Australia and first round the world flight in a microlight

Len Gabriels: founder of Skyhook Hang gliders

Bob Calvert: several times UK champion at hang gliding

The reference to Russian ships is a gentle reminder that Brian Milton's balloon launched flight across the channel landed short- rescued by...

The prop warning refers to Gerry Breen's losing a toe or two in the prop of his powered hang glider.


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